Have you ever kept a diary, a journal or some sort of file that logs your activities, thoughts, ideas? Blogs let you do all this online without having to know anything about HTML or other web-page coding stuff. And best of all, you can do it for for free with a variety of tools. Educators have learnt the value of this process in their professional work, both for their own needs, and for integration into teaching.
What exactly are blogs?
A blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a website with content regularly updated by a single author. Entries are generally written to be informal, reflective and moderate in length from 50-500 words (although this varies).
Blogs are organised in reverse-chronological order from the most recent post, or entry, to the least recent. Since blogs can be public other people can share their thoughts and ask questions through the commenting feature on your blog. It’s a great way to connect with other people interested in the same topic.
Sometimes new bloggers feel a bit strange writing down their thoughts and publishing them online for anyone to see. It might seem like a rather vain thing to do. But there are several reasons why blogging is a useful tool:
- blogging about what you’ve seen or done is a way of incorporating reflective practice into your professional life.
- blogging about events will help you remember them more clearly in the future, and that’s useful for job applications and when working towards qualifications.
- you will positively impact on other people’s development by blogging your ideas and experiences – professional engagement isn’t just about your development, but it’s also about sharing what you know with others.
- by sharing your ideas and knowledge you’ll be able to engage in conversation with peers outside your local area and develop a wider professional network.
Rationale for learning and teaching
Biggs, J., & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university. Open university press.
Chapter 12 Assessing and grading for functioning and intended learning outcomes
“In professional programmes in particular, it is useful if students keep a reflective journal, in which they record any incidents or thoughts that help them reflect on the content of the course or programme. Such reflection is basic to proper professional functioning. The reflective journal is especially useful for assessing intended learning outcomes in relating to the application of content knowledge, professional judgement and reflection on past decisions and problem solving with a view to improving them.” p.261
To get another perspective it’s worth reading a blog post titled Another year, another post. In summary:
- you have to get used to just cranking the words out
- you have to grow accustomed to the very idea of readers
- you have to accept the idea of being read
- A blog is an archive of activity and of thinking
What is tagging? (or how to get organised)
A tag is a way of describing or flagging the content of your blog post and can also be used to identify posts of interest on a specific topic. As part of 23 Things for Digital Knowledge we ask that all blog posts with content relating to the 23 Things program be tagged with ‘23ThingsCSU’. This allows us to pull those posts from registered blogs into our aggregate so that all participants can read and share in the 23 Things experience.
Tagging your blog posts with the specific Thing being covered, e.g. “Thing1”, also helps identify and collect together posts on the same Thing.
How to complete Thing 3
Create a blog. (If you already have your own blog skip down to step 2.)
- Thinkspace – (Charles Sturt University staff and students only). You are able to log in to Thinkspace with your CSU username and password. Getting started guides.
- Edublogs – We recommend Edublogs.org as a quality WordPress blogging site targeted for education. Thinkspace is CampusPress by Edublogs. Getting started with your blog.
- WordPress – We also recommend WordPress.com as a blog hosting site as it is one we use within the University. It is also one of the easiest to set up and get started blogging in fairly short work. To help you out we have created the following guide : How to create a WordPress Blog.pdf (2.8MB)
- Blogger – Blogger is another good blogging platform and is provided by Google. Information on how to set up an account with Blogger can be found on the Blogger Getting Started Guide.
Register your blog using the form below. We’ll add your blog name and link to the “Thing Collection”! (but this is not automatic, so give it time)